Smoke and fire detectors and your home, cottage or commercial inspection.

Fire and smoke detectors and your home inspection 
When  I conduct home, cottage, or commercial  inspections in Orillia, Midland, Gravenhurst and all of the Muskoka area, the International Association Of Certified Home Inspectors standards of practice( SOP) require me to inspect for the presence of fire detection alarms, commonly referred to as smoke detectors.

A smoke and fire detector, depending on the type of sensor head, detects either smoke particles or a sudden rise in temperature.  Each type can play an important role in fire safety for your home, and I recommend you ensure the correct type is installed in the correct location. The manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed but in general you want a temperature sensing head where the chance of a flash fire could break out such as in a garage or storage area where combustibles are stored. A particulate sensing head is usually best in areas where slow smoldering fires take place, such as the living rooms and bedrooms.

Smoke detectors are required to be installed in a manner consistent with the Building Codes in effect at the time of original home construction. Additional detectors may be required if additions or alterations to structure have occurred, but at minimum, all residential homes are required to have at least one working smoke detector.

 Specifically every single-family dwelling and factory-built home which is sold shall have an operable smoke detector. The detector shall be approved and listed by the UWL and it shall be installed in accordance with manufactures installation instructions. Unless prohibited by local rules, regulations, or ordinances, a battery-operated smoke detector shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of this section. The home buyer may have to rely on the seller for the date and age of the detector. If this is not available I advise my clients to replace them.

All new construction and renovations for which a permit is issued must now have wired in type linked fire/smoke detectors. In addition, I strongly recommend that all sleeping rooms be equipped with functional smoke detectors, regardless of the minimum standards set by provincial or local laws. Smoke detectors should be installed at least three feet away from air-conditioning and heating registers, and be positioned no more than twelve inches below the highest point of the ceiling in the room it serves.

Following S.O.P home inspection standards, during my inspection, I do not operate smoke detectors, nor do I smoke-test detectors, which is the only definitive test to confirm proper function. Keep in mind that simply pushing the test button only proves the alarm function works not that the detector head is working. In addition many systems are now monitored and testing them will result in a false alarm call to the fire department.  During the inspection I will make note of the absence of smoke detectors in my report and I will point out locations where they may be installed for a safer home, cottage or commercial building.